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Chapter 4
Igneous Rocks
General characteristics
of magma
• Igneous rocks form as molten rock
cools and solidifies
• General characteristics of magma:
• Parent material of igneous rocks
• Forms from partial melting of rocks
• Magma at surface is called lava
General characteristics
of magma
• General characteristic of magma
• Rocks formed from lava = extrusive, or
volcanic rocks
• Rocks formed from magma at depth =
intrusive, or plutonic rocks
General characteristics
of magma
• The nature of magma
• Consists of three components:
– Liquid portion = melt
– Solids, if any, are silicate minerals
– Volatiles = dissolved gases in the melt,
including water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide
(CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2)
General characteristics
of magma
• Crystallization of magma
• Cooling of magma results in the
systematic arrangement of ions into
orderly patterns
• The silicate minerals resulting from
crystallization form in a predictable
• Texture - size and arrangement of
mineral grains
Igneous textures
• Texture is used to describe the
overall appearance of a rock based
on the size, shape, and arrangement
of interlocking minerals
• Factors affecting crystal size
• Rate of cooling
– Slow rate = fewer but larger crystals
– Fast rate = many small crystals
– Very fast rate forms glass
Igneous textures
• Factors affecting crystal size
• % of silica (SiO2) present
• Dissolved gases
Igneous textures
• Types of igneous textures
• Aphanitic (fine-grained) texture
– Rapid rate of cooling
– Microscopic crystals
– May contain vesicles (holes from gas
• Phaneritic (coarse-grained) texture
– Slow cooling
– Large, visible crystals
Aphanitic texture
Phaneritic texture
Igneous textures
• Types of igneous textures
• Porphyritic texture
– Minerals form at different temperatures
– Large crystals (phenocrysts) are embedded
in a matrix of smaller crystals (groundmass)
• Glassy texture
– Very rapid cooling of lava
– Resulting rock is called obsidian
Igneous textures
• Types of igneous textures
• Pyroclastic texture
– Fragmental appearance produced by violent
volcanic eruptions
– Often appear more similar to sedimentary
• Pegmatitic texture
– Exceptionally coarse grained
– Form in late stages of crystallization of
granitic magmas
Porphyritic texture
Glassy texture
Igneous compositions
• Igneous rocks are composed primarily
of silicate minerals
• Dark (or ferromagnesian) silicates
– Olivine, pyroxene, amphibole, and biotite
• Light (or nonferromagnesian) silicates
– Quartz, muscovite mica, and feldspars
Igneous compositions
• Granitic versus basaltic compositions
• Granitic composition
– Light-colored silicates
– Termed felsic (feldspar and silica) in
– High amounts of silica (SiO2)
– Major constituent of continental crust
Igneous compositions
• Granitic versus basaltic compositions
• Basaltic composition
– Dark silicates and calcium-rich feldspar
– Termed mafic (magnesium and ferrum, for
iron) in composition
– Higher dense than granitic rocks
– Comprise the ocean floor and many
volcanic islands
Basaltic lava dropping into the ocean along Kilauea Volcano along
the southeastern coast of the big island of Hawaii
Igneous compositions
• Other compositional groups
• Intermediate (or andesitic) composition
– Contain 25% or more dark silicate minerals
– Associated with explosive volcanic activity
• Ultramafic composition
– Rare composition that is high in magnesium
and iron
– Composed entirely of ferromagnesian
Igneous compositions
• Silica content as an indicator of
• Exhibits a considerable range in the
– 45% to 70%
• Silica content influences magma
• Granitic magmas = high silica content
and viscous
• Basaltic magmas = much lower silica
content and more fluid-like behavior
Igneous compositions
• Naming igneous rocks – granitic rocks
• Granite
– Phaneritic
– Over 25% quartz, about 65% or more
– Very abundant - often associated with
mountain building
– The term granite includes a wide range of
mineral compositions
Igneous compositions
• Naming igneous rocks – granitic rocks
• Rhyolite
– Extrusive equivalent of granite
– May contain glass fragments and vesicles
– Aphanitic texture
– Less common and less voluminous than
Igneous compositions
• Naming igneous rocks – granitic rocks
• Obsidian
– Dark colored
– Glassy texture
• Pumice
– Volcanic
– Glassy texture
– Frothy appearance with numerous voids
Pumice is very glassy and sharp,
with countless vesicles.
Igneous compositions
• Naming igneous rocks – intermediate
• Andesite
– Volcanic origin
– Aphanitic texture
• Diorite
– Plutonic equivalent of andesite
– Coarse grained
Igneous compositions
• Naming igneous rocks – basaltic rocks
• Basalt
– Volcanic origin
– Aphanitic texture
– Composed mainly of pyroxene and calciumrich plagioclase feldspar
– Most common extrusive igneous rock
Igneous compositions
• Naming igneous rocks – mafic rocks
• Gabbro
– Intrusive equivalent of basalt
– Phaneritic texture consisting of pyroxene
and calcium-rich plagioclase
– Significant % of the oceanic crust
Igneous compositions
• Naming igneous rocks – pyroclastic
• Composed of fragments ejected during
a volcanic eruption
• Varieties
– Tuff = ash-sized fragments
– Volcanic breccia = particles larger than ash
Origin of magma
• Highly debated topic
• Generating magma from solid rock
• Role of heat
– Temperature increases in the upper crust
(geothermal gradient) average between 20oC
to 30oC per kilometer of depth
– Rocks in the lower crust and upper mantle
are near their melting points
– Any additional heat may induce melting
Origin of magma
• Role of pressure
– Increases in confining pressure cause an
increase in a rock’s melting temperature
– When confining pressures drop,
decompression melting occurs
• Role of volatiles
– Volatiles (primarily water) cause rocks to
melt at lower temperatures
– Important factor where oceanic lithosphere
descends into the mantle
Decompression melting
Evolution of magmas
• A single volcano may extrude lavas exhibiting
very different compositions
• Each volcanic eruption tends to exhibit a
unique geochemical fingerprint, defined by
trace element percentages
• Bowen’s reaction series
• Minerals crystallize in a systematic fashion
based on their melting points
• During crystallization, the composition of the
liquid portion of the magma continually changes
Bowen’s reaction series
Evolution of magmas
• Processes responsible for changing a
magma’s composition
• Magmatic differentiation
– Separation of a melt from earlier formed
• Assimilation
– Changing a magma’s composition by the
incorporation of surrounding rock bodies
into a magma
Magma evolves as the
hotter minerals crystallize
and settle to the bottom of
the magma chamber
Evolution of magmas
• Processes responsible for changing a
magma’s composition
• Magma mixing
– Two chemically distinct magmas may
produce a composition quite different from
either original magma
Assimilation, magma mixing,
and magmatic differentiation
Evolution of magmas
• Partial melting and magma formation
• Incomplete melting of rocks is known as
partial melting
• Formation of basaltic magmas
– Most originate from partial melting of
ultramafic rock in the mantle at oceanic
– Large outpourings of basaltic magma are
common at Earth’s surface
Evolution of magmas
• Partial melting and magma formation
• Formation of andesitic magmas
– Produced by interaction of basaltic magmas
and more silica-rich rocks in the crust
– May also evolve by magmatic differentiation
Evolution of magmas
• Partial melting and magma formation
• Formation of granitic magmas
– Most likely form as the end product of
crystallization of andesitic magma
– Granitic magmas are more viscous than
other magmas so they tend to lose their
mobility before reaching the surface
– Tend to produce large plutonic structures